The prevalence of diabetes is constantly on the rise, currently affecting over 8% of the American population. As reported by the Centers for Disease Control, the occurrence of this disease has rapidly increased over the last 30 years, rising staggering 176 % in the period between 1980 and 2011. In 2012 alone, 9.3 % of the population had diabetes, totaling 29.1 million people.
Even worse, diabetes was the 7th leading cause of death in 2010, based on the 69,071 death cases in which diabetes was outlined as the root cause of death. In the same year, diabetes was listed as the underlying cause of death in a total of 234,051 cases.
With this being said, it`s no wonder that patients, doctors, and researchers are desperately looking for a safe and effective treatment. Interestingly, some researchers claim that two simple, fragrant, Mediterranean herbs may be the solution.
New research: Rosemary and oregano work just like prescription drugs – yet safer
According to a study done by researchers from the American Chemical Society and published in Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, rosemary and oregano had the ability to hinder dipeptidyl peptidase IV, an enzyme that promotes the release of insulin. The protein tyrosine phosphatase, which plays a critical role when it comes to insulin signaling, has led the researchers to believe that these herbs could be beneficial in terms of both preventing and treating diabetes.
Elvira Gonzalez de Mejia, the lead author and researcher, noted that while many cases of diabetes can be kept in check through exercise and diet, many patients simply fail to stick to a successful regimen. Additionally, anti-diabetic drugs can be quite expensive, plus they often come with a wide range of side effects. Herbs, on the other hand, are an all-natural, safe, and cheap method to lower blood glucose levels.
What are the beneficial properties of rosemary and oregano?
In case fresh rosemary and oregano aren’t available at the moment, don’t worry. While using fresh herbs is preferable, the dried varieties are just as effective in terms of lowering blood sugar.
The team of researchers investigated the effects of both greenhouse-grown and commercially dried extracts. It has been found that the first version had higher levels of flavonoids and polyphenols, but the latter functioned as effectively in lowering blood sugar levels.
Among the different varieties tested, commercial Greek oregano (origanum vulgare), commercial Mexican oregano ( lippia graveolens), and both both greenhouse and commercial rosemary (rosmarinic officinalis) performed the best.
Polyphenols and flavonoids in rosemary and oregano shown to target inflammation
Both rosemary and oregano act as potent anti-inflammatory agents due to their high phytochemicals content. They are also packed with gallic acid, with some samples containing 430 micrograms per milligram. Gallic acid is a powerful antioxidant, anti-fungal agent, anti-viral agent, and known for its chemopreventive properties.
In a 2014 study published in International Journal of Inflammation, gallic acid beneficially affected mice with lab-induced sepsis, completely reversing lipid peroxidation (damaging degradation of fats).
Both rosemary and oregano also contain rosmarinic acid, volatile oils like borneol, camphene, and cineol, and antioxidant vitamins A and C.
Rosemary can also alleviate age-related cognitive decline
Apart from treating diabetes and promoting healthy blood sugar levels, rosemary also alleviates age-related cognitive decline due to its ability to reduce stress in the part of the brain responsible for controlling memory and learning.
Recent animal studies done at Saint Louis University School of Medicine have found that a few enhanced proprietary rosemary and spearmint extracts notably improved the cognitive performance of mice with cognitive decline. Hopefully, these herbs could be used to treat cognitive problems typical for the early stages of Alzheimer`s.